Chronic Pain and Social Security Disability

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by suzetal, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    Found this and thought it might help a few members.Not sure if its been posted before.

    I hope it helps someone.

    Hugs>>>>For Every Day A New Dawn Will Come>>>>Sue


    Chronic Pain and Social Security Disability

    Here is an explanation of Social Security's five-step process to determine if a chronic pain sufferer qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance:

    Here is the five-step process for a chronic pain disability explained:

    STEP ONE simply determines if an individual is "working (engaging in substantial gainful activity)" according to the SSA definition.

    Earning more than $860 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.

    STEP TWO implies that the chronic pain disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one’s ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:

    walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
    seeing, hearing and speaking
    understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions
    use of judgment
    responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
    dealing with changes in a routine work setting


    STEP THREE states that the Social Security Administration is required to consider pain and the limitations imposed by pain in the adjudication of a disability claim. However, before pain may be considered, a medically determinable severe impairment must be established by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.


    Once a medically determinable severe impairment is established then the established impairment must reasonably be expected to produce the pain.

    The Social Security Administration is required to evaluate the intensity, persistence and functionally limiting effects of the pain, i.e., how does the pain affect the individual’s ability to do basic work activities.


    Because symptoms, such as pain, sometime suggest a greater severity of impairment than can be shown by objective medical evidence alone, the adjudicator is required to carefully consider the individual’s statements about his/her pain with the rest of the relevant evidence in the case record.


    An individual’s statement about the intensity and persistence of pain or about the effect the pain has on his/her ability to work may not be disregarded solely because they are not substantiated by objective medical evidence.

    The following factors are to be considered by the Social Security Administration in the assessment of pain:

    The individual’s daily activities:

    The location, duration, frequency, and intensity of the individual’s pain (or other symptoms)
    Factors that precipitate and aggravate the symptoms
    The type, dosage, effectiveness, and side effects of any mediation the individual takes or has taken to alleviate pain (or other symptoms)


    Treatment, other than medication, the individual receives or has received for relief of pain (or other symptoms)
    Any measures other than treatment the individual uses or has used to relieve pain (or other symptoms) (e.g., lying flat on his/her back, standing for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or sleeping on a board)


    Any other factors concerning the individual’s functional limitations and restrictions due to pain (or other symptoms)
    Pain, if present, is a symptom that must be addressed in the adjudication of all disability claims.


    STEP FOUR explores the ability of an individual to perform work he has done in the past despite his chronic pain disability. If SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.


    STEP FIVE looks at age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine disability, SSA enlists vocational rules, which vary according to age.

    For example, if a person is:

    Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms of chronic pain, unable to perform what SSA calls sedentary work, then SSA will reach a determination of disabled.


    Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.


    Age 50 or older and, due to his chronic pain disability, limited to performing sedentary work but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, SSA will reach a determination of disabled.


    Over age 60 and, due to his chronic pain disability unable to perform any of the jobs he performed in the last 15 years, SSA will likely reach a determination of disabled.


    Any age and, because of chronic pain, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, SSA will reach a determination of disabled.







  2. kirschbaum26

    kirschbaum26 New Member

    Dear Suzetal:

    Thanks for that. It was interesting. Does SSA use that same criteria for Rhuematoid arthritis? Just curious, as I had my private LTD company call me this week and do a phone interview. She kept on asking for my pain scale for everything that I did each day. She even had the nerve to ask me how much my pain subsided when I took my medications. Since I do not take any narcotics, and my liver cannot handle much of anything...I had to tell her that my pain level with the max doses daily of advil (2400mg) and tylenol (1300mg) only manages to keep me from going to the er or giving up completely.

    Thanks again for posting.

    I have gone to a pain clinic (last time was about 10 years ago)...so I know that they have really changed in that time. Not sure I would want to agree to all of their conditions and restrictions. I know that I could not function at work, even while on narcotics. I do not know how some of us on this board do it.

    Ingrid
  3. wazoo

    wazoo New Member

    Hi, want my advice? Get a lawyer. It won't cost you unless he or she wins and they do.
    Hugs,
    Sheila
  4. sfrazier

    sfrazier New Member

    Thank you so much for pasting that. I was denied by a judge because he said that everything was based on what I said and he thought I was over stating the pain I was in. Appealed that and the appellete court found in the judges favor so I just copied the part about not taking into consideration what the person says about the pain without any physical evedince. The problem is with my case my doctor agreed with me as far as the pain. I really doubt that they will file with the federal courts and I have refiled but now I have this to back me up. Thanks.......SueF
  5. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

  6. MsOnlyMe123

    MsOnlyMe123 New Member

    Thank you for your time and efforts in this research. This is wonderful information and sure it will be very helpful for many.

    Eileen